Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Weightlessness of Forgiveness.

I'll try to keep this short, but I make no promises. God did a wonderful thing in my life last week, and I'm still in awe.

Four and a half years ago, something bad happened that drove a wedge between my oldest brother and myself. Four and a half years ago my 12 year old daughter wasn't quite 8, my 10 year old sons were not 6, my 3 year old was a 18 day old embryo that had implanted in my womb mere days before, and my 19 month old wasn't even a possibility in our minds. Four and a half years is a long time. In the last four and a half years I have spent countless sleepless nights trying to figure out how to fix the wrongs between my brother and me. Oh the things I could tell him to make him see how wrong he was/is about me. If I could just explain it to him with just the right words than surely he would see the error of his ways and ask me to forgive him, and I, in my most noble, loving, Christ-filled heart, would instantly oblige him.

{insert the grating screech of a phonograph needle scratching across the grooves of a vinyl record}

Nice imagination, but ain't never gonna happen that way, and I know it well. Which is why in four and a half years I have never even gotten one word out. It was hopeless. I can't change him and therefore have to live in the misery he created for me. Then God spoke up. Well, it's possible He's been speaking to me about it for a long time, but I was just too deaf to listen. So, he got out the two-by-four, you know, the one He smacks me over the head with when I'm being thick headed.

The last few weeks have gone something like this...

God said, "Forgiveness."

I said, "I can't HEAR you!"

God said, "Forgiveness."

I said, "I hear you, but I ain't LISTENING!"

God said, "Forgiveness, or I can't forgive you."

I said, "I can't forgive him. He's wrong and he's behavin' like a juvenile idiot. And he needs to come to his senses and make it right."

God said, "Call Penny about Mason's funeral."

"Oh, THAT I can do!"

So, God's been talking to me and I've been telling Him how it is. And I call Penny. If you know God, then you've probably had Him script a conversation or two for you, you know, where the words the other person is saying may as well have come out of the mouth of the Almighty Himself because the point being made couldn't possibly have come from any other source. (If you don't know God, may you meet Him in just such a way!)

Penny and I talked about the funeral and then the conversation turns to my brother. Suddenly, Penny is talking about forgiveness. (me to God, "You don't play fair!") I tried to explain it to her, "I just want him to know the person he thinks I am is not an accurate image of who I really am." She's not persuaded. In fact, the opposite, she's telling me how my unforgiveness is pride. My unforgiveness is power to me, in place of God's power in my life. "No, no. I just want him to see that he's wrong about me." Patient Penny, still not persuaded. My unforgiveness is self-righteousness. (me to God, "Neither one of you is going to back down on this, are you? You did this on purpose!")

WATCH OUT!! Here comes the two-by-four! Penny and I had been going round and round the mulberry bush for about half an hour or longer. Then she tells me that my unforgiveness is just like gossip. (me to God, "Now hold on a cotton-pickin' minute! You know that I DON'T GOSSIP!!)She tells me I keep those wrongs like little nuggets of gossip in a bag, and I pull them out whenever I get the opportunity to talk to anyone who will listen, and I use those nuggets as power to make myself look righteous and him to look wrong.

BAM! {two-by-four applied up side my head!}

The wax drained out of my ears and the scales fell off my eyes, and I'm looking in the mirror and hearing the sweet, gentle, loving voice of my God, "Karina, your unforgiveness is sin. I want to take that away from you." I see it clearly now, because I can replay conversation after conversation in my mind when I pulled those little nuggets out starting from the very first day four and a half years ago until now, even that very day!

I fell on my face before God and told Him all that He already knew, how ugly my sin was, how prideful my heart, how self-righteous I'd been. And forgiveness began to rain down on me and fill me. I can now, have now forgiven my brother. What other choice could I make when I received such forgiveness from God?

I'll be honest. Penny told me that night that forgiveness would be complete, that it wouldn't be work, I wouldn't have to remind myself that I'd forgiven him. And I didn't believe her. How could four and a half years of anger and hurt just go away? But it did. It just melted away in the rain. And it took the burden I carried these years right along with it. I feel a song coming on!....

"My sin, Oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I BEAR IT NO MORE!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Oh, my soul!"

{visions of blue-haired ladies running around waving hankies, shouting, "Glory!"} You night have to be a Nazarene to understand that one!

OK, well, I told you I made no promises on keeping it short. But, I'm light-hearted tonight and wanted to share. And I thank God for a friend who was willing to speak the Truth to me in love, and be a vessel cracked enough to let the Holy Spirit pour out and change me. Next time maybe I'll listen to God more quickly, so He doesn't have to use that two-by-four! Probably not, but I do have a good imagination, don't I?!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing that grace of the almighty love of forgiveness. Amazing......
    I have no doubt that God was right there in the room with us that night. I have no doubt that your call later than usual was made because of a little tug from God. I never keep my phone with me after I put the kids all down for the night....... but there it was right by me. Most nights I would not have taken the call..... but I did...... Hmmmm and that talk about forgiveness and how it had haunted my life..... well God knew that you needed a little push. (Just call me pushy) He guides our words, I give all glory to him.
    Every step we take he will guide us if we allow...... he makes the steps easy..... if we just HEAR Him.
    There is no better feeling than that lighter than air feeling. God is SO good!
    Karina my dear sweet friend God will bring us together someday in real life. Till then the phone line is open.

    p.s. and I think that arranged marriages are a great thing!